Sunday, December 16, 2012
The recipe is HERE If this link is wonky, they are from the 12/12/2012 issue of The Washington Post.
Things I learned that may help someone else -- place the chocolate chips with the pointed side down -- don't place the ears too far apart, they could fall out -- use a nice long noodle for the tail, you will have breakage, especially if they travel -- try really hard to find (already) sliced almonds, it is very difficult to slice whole almonds cleanly.
I only changed one thing in the recipe -- I used a yolk-sized dollop of cream cheese in place of the egg yolk, since I made a half recipe to test it and didn't want to be bothered trying to divide one egg yolk -- it worked just fine. If I were to make them again (and I will) I would consider using white string for the tail. The children I would bake them for are mature enough to know not to eat the string, plus I grew up eating sugar mice with string tails and survived -- but you know your own audience and the responsibility rests with you, so... Bonus points? Not only are these cute, but they taste good too!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
This designer has some cute shawlettes -- I think I'll put Leftie on the needles next.
I think this one is Trellis by the incomparable Doris Chan in the scarf version. Also available in a shawl/wrap or cowl version. Found it in the closet with only two ends to run in. Now, why didn't I finish it off way back when? Not sure about the yarn, but I love the colors!
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Pattern is Vogue 9082, an OOP (I think) Patricia Underwood design. Fabric is rayon velvet from FabricMart, a fairly recent addition to my stash, so there may still be some left, if anyone is interested. Lined with Ambiance rayon, and brim (only) interfaced with silk organza, as I wanted to keep a loose, floppy effect. Very easy pattern to sew, but lots of handbasting.
Now, I just need to figure out just how I'd like it to drape, and just how to arrange the hair, and hopefully it will see the light of day!
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Pattern is from Chic Knits -- the Basic Chic V-Neck Cardi. Yarn is vintage stash - Tahki Donegal Tweed, 100% wool, 183 yards/167 m per 100 g skein.
I like it well enough, but I think I didn't do the yarn justice with such a plain pattern. Somehow such a rustic, tweedy yarn cries out for cables. Still, it will be a useful piece, and I'm happy to have made a teeny wee dent in the stash. Onward!
Friday, November 2, 2012
Monday, October 22, 2012
A crocheted cowl (simply called cowl, i.e. project #9) from the last (2012 Special Collector's Issue) of Vogue Knitting Crochet. Vintage alpaca yarn from Elann, probably still available as it's their house brand, but I haven't checked there lately. Quick, easy, soft!
Chic Knits. A unisex hat/cowl pattern from the talented Bonne Marie Burns. Yarn is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky.
Ravelry. Yarn is Country Silk, a wool/silk sportweight blend now discontinued from Fiddlesticks Knitting. Also vintage stash. The strong vertical lines on the left of the photo are shadows.
And just because (he showed up at the photo shoot) -- Monty In Autumn
Friday, October 5, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012
Took a 4-day workshop recently with Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns. We concentrated on fitting (and hopefully making) a basic pair of pants and a jacket. Before arriving we were to make a muslin of both items, and our adjusted, fitted muslin would then serve as our pattern. It was fascinating to see the results that our group achieved, and amazing to see demonstrated just how important proper fit is to the appearance of our garments. Peggy certainly knows how to fit! Hopefully my own pair will debut at some point -- they are still awaiting waistband application, and hemming.
Also completed - Pamela's Patterns Magic Pencil skirt. Whoa! So easy they practically make themselves. Made two to check the fit before cutting into a nice wool doubleknit. If you like that style definitely worth checking out. Two Giorgio tops from Silhouette Patterns (that's one of them in the Becky photo - lengthened to tunic length.) A pair of Kwik Sew leggings made from an interesting (slightly fuzzy) doubleknit from Fabric Mart. And, last but not least, a cowl collared knit top (Ann) also from Silhouette Patterns. But no photos yet -- what a shame.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Now that I'm back, it seems to be a good time to look ahead to autumn sewing. It's still plenty warm here, and will be for a while, so I decided to start with a little transitional top. It's from the Burda Style magazine from a couple of years ago -- 09-2009, top 118 to be precise. I'm not a regular subscriber to Burda, but I have managed to collect quite a few issues, but never seem to make anything from them. Probably due to laziness -- all that tracing! But the new lifestyle motto at Casa Mingling Yarn is Use What You Already Have, so after seeing another blogger's rendition of this (and I no longer remember just where I saw it, so no link -- sorry) I decided to give it a go.
Fabric is a dotted Swiss cotton voile in a dark chocolate brown -- a not so long ago purchase from Fabric Mart. While the light weight cotton is a true summer fabric, the dark, rich brown gives it a hint of fall to come -- see, transitional!
What drew me to the pattern initially was the sleeve treatment. I think it would be called a Bishop sleeve -- fitted at the top, and fuller at the bottom. This pattern achieves that by a series of tucks in the sleeve cap that release into a fuller lower sleeve that is gathered into a band.
Things I like about the pattern/garment: the sleeve shape, the waistline darts (front and back) the longer, almost tunic length, the vintage dark mother-of-pearl buttons (not too visible in the photo) and the fabric was very easy to work with. Things I dislike: nothing much about the pattern itself, but it sure adds extra work to trace and add seam/hem allowances! If I were to make it again, I would raise the neckline a bit -- is Germany the capital of Décolleté? Judging from the Burda low necklines you'd certainly think so! Not sure I will make it again, the silhouette is fairly distinctive, but I'll enjoy wearing this one. Onward!
Monday, July 30, 2012
As mentioned previously, I changed a few things. I'm happy with the way the collar/neckband looks by not picking up the band stitches as directed in the pattern -- much neater. I'm also glad that I moved the shoulder line in (maybe about 2 inches?), as this pattern is quite wide in the shoulders -- and I'm not. Changing the three buttons to one large one? That change I'm not so sure was my best bet. But, it's done now, and I won't be ripping out and re-doing that. One change I wish I had made but didn't would be reducing the depth of the armhole. I don't need the extra room there, and I think it makes the sleeve too large. I was happy to have added extra length to the body. I also added short row bust shaping in the fronts, and while I'm glad I did, I may have added one set too many. I really need to re-think just how much extra to add now that I've lost a little weight. All in all, I'm pleased with the final result, but as always is the case -- it could be better. But it's done, and I'm moving on -- time to start thinking autumn, no?
Saturday, July 28, 2012
She joins another little vintage toy Singer that I had found in an antique mall in Cape Cod, and after a little cleaning and oiling, has settled in just fine. I was even able to get her to stitch for a bit, which I had never accomplished with the other machine.
Not sure on the age of either machine -- their bodies are the same, although there are slight differences in the seam guide and tensioning parts. I had thought the first machine was probably from the 50's, so perhaps this new one is too. In any event, she's a welcome addition to sewing room decor -- thanks Margaret!
Sunday, July 22, 2012
It's been a while since I've posted the recipe, so here's a LINK. It's tasty, it's easy, and did I mention? It's no cook! Well, you do need to cook the pasta -- but I'll bet you could sweet talk someone in your house to do that for you; I know I sure can.
Addendum: Carol mentions in comments that her hubby prefers a meat sauce. While I wouldn't add meat to this one, I do have a favorite cooked sauce that could take on some meat quite nicely. It's an Alton Brown recipe for ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE. If I were to make this for a carnivore, I would saute up some Italian sausage (or ground meat, whatever), drain it, then return it to the pan and add the sauce to cook for that last 5 minutes the recipe calls for. Easy. Confession time: I love this roasted tomato sauce and even planted plum tomatoes so I can make it more often. However, I take the easy way out and just puree the cooked veggies in the food processor, not a food mill. I'm sure it's more elegant milled and skins removed, but hey, we need that extra fiber! Also, this works just as well with a smaller number of tomatoes -- just adjust your oil amount (they need to be nicely coated, not swimming in it) and likewise the onions, etc.
Friday, July 13, 2012
City Cardigan to Knit -- a pattern by Val Love at Dovetail Designs, available through Patternfish.
One of the reasons I enjoy reading Kristin's blog is her thoughtful approach to the things she makes. This knitting project was no exception, and the design challenges she mentioned got me interested in trying this pattern out for myself. It didn't hurt that I could use a warmer weather cardigan either.
This is a cropped length, worked from the top down, short sleeved cardigan with a small shawl collar. As written, the instructions have you cast on at the top of the back piece, knit down to the bottom of the armhole, then put these stitches aside and knit the front pieces down to the same spot.
I also followed this path, but decided to change things up just a bit. Here's where I am now, and the changes I've made --
Because I have narrow shoulders, and Kristin had mentioned that the pattern's shoulders were wide, I brought them in a bit. This meant that I would need to add the stitches removed from the shoulder line back into piece at the bottom of the armholes. You can see how this curves the armhole from the photo I think.
Once the back piece was done to the armholes it was time to pick up stitches for one of the fronts. Again, as written, the pattern called for picking up a certain number of stitches for the front shoulders, then casting on additional stitches for the twisted rib border -- from there you would be knitting downward, as you had done for the back. When it came time to knit the back of the collar, you were instructed to pick up the twisted rib stitches from the initial cast on and then rib up to the mid-point of the back neck. It is extremely difficult to pick up ribbed stitches cast on in one direction, then knit them up in the opposite direction and not have some line of demarcation, no matter how neatly you perform the operation. The reason is the structure of the stitches themselves -- when picking up and knitting in the opposite direction you will always be one half stitch 'off' -- not quite as noticeable in plain stockinette, rather more so in ribbing. Mosey over to Tech Knitting for a better description of the whys and wherefores -- in fact, spend some time there and you'll learn quite a few things about improving your knitting.
In any event, to avoid having a "blurp" no matter how small, I decided to instead cast on for the back neck ribbing, knit down, then pick up the shoulder stitches for the front. This way, I will have a seam at the back of the neck, but nothing marring the front. I decided I would sew this seam, instead of casting on provisionally, as I thought it would look just fine with a neatly sewn seam, it's fairly standard construction, plus I really didn't want to try grafting twisted rib!
So, here I am, finished with the 'armhole up' sections of the back and both fronts. Extra stitches were cast on for each armhole edge, and the whole thing has been joined together and will be knit as one piece down to the bottom (waist edge). I'll be throwing in some short row bust shaping -- not as a wedge-shaped dart, but as separate short rows placed at (somewhat) regular intervals. I'm hoping this will give me the extra length needed for a fuller bust, yet not be as noticeable as an "all at once" dart. We'll see.
Still trying to decide on the button closure. Brave Kristin went with a silk ribbon faced, machine sewn buttons. I'm thinking I may just do one larger button -- maybe one of these?
The yarn I am using is an oldie from the stash -- "Believe" from Classic Elite. Because of the yarn's texture, I decided to forgo the slight textured stitch of the pattern (Lazy Seed Stitch). It didn't show up that well in my swatch with all the little nubs and lumps of my yarn, so why not speed things up with plain stockinette? This yarn is just splitty enough that knitting into the back of the purl stitches is not much fun, but the stiletto points of my Signature needles does help a bit with that.
So, will I finish this before we head into cooler weather? Time will tell!
Friday, June 29, 2012
Here's a closer look at the little flower border --
It was a quick and fun little project. I thought all the chain stitches would get boring, but surprisingly it didn't. So, one partial cone removed from the yarn stash, a million more to go. OK, that might be a slight exageration, but sadly not by much.
Of course, there has been a little sewing too -- just had to jump on the maxi bandwagon. I doubt I would wear one enough to go to the store and buy one, but sew one? Sure!
Fabric is an ITY knit from Fabric Mart, pattern is Cruise Club Kim from my favorite independent pattern company Style Arc. I lengthened the pattern by about 12 inches, and widened it a bit at the bottom for more walking ease, but other than that it's straight out of the pattern envelope.
Monday, June 11, 2012
One of the sewing blogs I follow, Rhonda's Creative Life, had directions for a simple belt made from two men's ties that seemed like it would work well for me. Instead of having the belt tie, I decided to cut it down and use skirt/pant hook fasteners (2) to keep things closed and looking more streamlined.
Friday, June 8, 2012
Pattern: Style Arc Karen Walk Shorts, available in Australian RTW sizes 6 - 30. Longer leg length (approximately 10 inches in my size), with a lower rise and wide waistband. Optional belt loops and back welt pockets (which I didn't sew in this version). Made from a cotton/Lycra twill from Fabric Mart.
This is a pattern that will be sewn up again and again.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Stats: pattern (for the fronts) is from an old Hayfield booklet (7121) "Crochet in DK" Yarn used - some perle cotton that I had on a cone, probably a heavy fingering weight? Mods: well, the back of the pattern was to be done in solid dc stitch -- really, I think we can do better than that! So I paged through a few stitch dictionaries, and came up with one I thought would be compatible with the fronts. If you're wondering why not just use the stitch pattern from the front -- well, me too -- it just seemed like something I wanted to do!
I think it works fairly well. Now, back to the sewing room.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Lutterloh -- have you heard of them? I bought the system, back in the day, and when I had a lot of fitting issues I was dealing with. I had thought it was a fitting system, but it turned out that what it really is is a pattern drafting system. So, basically, any issues you have with fitting need to be addressed with the patterns you develop with this system just as they would with any pattern. It got put aside. Time passes, and I've learned more about changes I need to make for my body type, plus, weight has been lost and certain issues have disappeared. I see a review on Pattern Review for a cute pair of shorts made with the system, and think -- maybe it's time I got that out again.
I decided to do a test garment with just about the simplest pattern around -- a one piece pattern for leggings. I thought this would be quick and easy, plus would give me a rough idea of whether I was anywhere near the ballpark as far as fit goes. It was quick, it was easy, and the fit, while not perfect, was perfectly wearable and good enough for me to try something a bit more complicated -- these longer length shorts.
Don't look like much, do they? I find with Lutterloh you need to look beyond the somewhat awkward illustrations at the actual "bones" of the garment. These shorts looked promising to me for a couple of reasons -- front pockets, and a good length for my purpose. So, off I went. You can visit the web site for a demo, but basically, pattern is achieved by plotting out points using a special tape from a diagram like this one --
I decided to give the pattern a try 'as is' in order to see what I thought of the various components of fit. Also, my trial leggings had made me think that the crotch depth/shaping, which can often be an issue, would at least be passable. I figured I would probably need to take some length from the legs, but knew I could do that after the fact. And, what do you know, I ended up with a pretty decent pair of shorts! Yea, Lutterloh! (forgive the unmodeled shot -- legs are still pale, pasty white here at Mingling Yarn and are most definitely not ready for prime time)
And here's a closer look at the pocket area --
The fit is good in the hips/crotch, but needs to be smaller in the waist. I think I took that in by about 1". The legs did indeed need to be shortened by about 1 1/2" in order to hit me right above the knee. Other than that -- pretty darn good! I will definitely be making these again, and I will definitely be trying another Lutterloh pattern.
A few thoughts, pro and con. On the plus side, there are a lot of good, basic styles in the collection. Updates can also be purchased separately; I believe there are 2 per year. It's nice to have such a variety right at your fingertips. I'm also fairly sure that you can interchange components such as sleeves, etc. As for minuses -- well, you really need to know what you're doing in terms of putting garments together -- there are no instructions. Also, you do have to plot, and draw the patterns out, which some folks might consider tedious. I don't think it's any more of a chore than tracing out patterns from Burda, My Image, etc., but there are those who don't even like to do that. It's not really a minus -- insofar as it's the same for any pattern -- but keep in mind that this is NOT an answer to your fitting woes, but simply another pattern line. For anyone who thinks they might be interested in the system -- visit the website (link above) and watch their demo. It's probably not for everyone, but I find it intriguing, and will be trying it again.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Or, one photo, two sewn garments. We're all about economy here at Mingling Yarn.
Both patterns are from Style Arc -- I absolutely LOVE that pattern company! Great personalized service, and did I mention -- the patterns actually fit me with very little tweaking. The top was the free (with purchase) pattern for this month -- Amy Knit Top. It's sewn in a rayon/Lycra blend. An alternate view shows the top tied at the sides -- not my best look, but the multi-level hem gives a different look too. Quick and easy to sew, and I really like the cowl neckline.
The pants are Willow -- a slim, cigarette style pant. They're made from a poly/Lycra blend from Fabric Mart , which they describe as a "microfaille". This was a recent selection from Julie's Picks, so I'm not sure if it's still available. These are most definitely a slimmer pant. Darts in front/back, side seam zip, no pockets, slit on the outside lower leg seam. I forgot to do my usual leg length shortening on these (when I first made them) and boy, that was NOT a good look! I really think these look better when they hit the ankle without any folds or puddling in the length. I was concerned about the close fit, so made another pair adding a scootch more room in the hip area, and keeping the legs as they were. I'm not sure if my scootch was more of a sco-o-o-tch, or whether the different fabric I used made a difference, but those could have been just a bit tighter. Both pairs are certainly wearable though, so I guess now I have options -- skinny day/chubby day!
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Just playing around with color -- Rit Liquid Dye (tangerine) to be precise.
The idea was to dye some wooden beads and string them for a simple summery necklace.
It didn't take long (10 minutes?) for the unfinished wood to soak up a nice shade of orange. Also pictured are a couple of beads that were colored with marking pens, then given a light wash of diluted acrylic paint.
I thought it might be fun to see if I could jazz them up a bit with a little primitive decoration, so out came the wood burning tool --
Burned beads are on the left -- I think I like the looks of the undyed one best. Just a little dicey working with such small surfaces -- careful not to burn those fingers!
Of course, there's always dye left over, and who wants to waste? So, a mad dash through the sewing room to find some stuff to dunk. How about a little lace and some buttons? Still the same dye bath as the beads, but isn't it interesting how different materials take up the dye differently?
Nylon lace, natural shell buttons on the left, plastic (I think) buttons on the right.
Now, I wish I had some different colors to play around with -- that was fun!
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
After years of playing seasonal catch up -- sewing shorts and capris in the blazing heat of August, and woolly knits in deepest, darkest winter -- I have finally managed to have a couple of items ready before they are actually needed!
First, a pair of casual striped linen pants from Style Arc (who else?) -- the Peta pants. The leg length was shortened a bit, but no other pattern alterations. Although I made drawstrings for the pants legs, I decided not to go with that look, so didn't make the buttonholes on the pants hem to run the drawstrings through. Maybe I'll decide to do it later, maybe not. I'm pleased with the fit, and I think I now have a TNT (tried 'n true)for casual summer pants. Yeah!
As if that's not enough, I also finished a tunic length shirt -- the Sacha shirt, also from Style Arc. I used a cotton windowpane check from Fabric Mart. My only alteration to pattern was lowering the bust dart. I wear this type of shirt a lot, so I'm very pleased that I now have a TNT for this one too.
If I were a clever girl, I would have made them in fabrics that worked well together, but...you go with what you have on hand.
Meanwhile, despite the temperatures claiming otherwise, it's still winter, and I still need some long-sleeved tops. I recently tried a new-to-me pattern company (magazine) My Image. Like Burda Style, you have to trace these patterns from a magazine insert, adding seam allowances and hems. Unlike Burda, they are a little easier to see to trace. This cowl is from the winter issue.
I traced the size closest to my measurements, and made no alterations to the fit. The shoulder seam is too long for me (narrow shoulders), but other than that the fit wasn't too bad. The body is meant to have elastic ruching, which I left out. Not sure that I really need more wrinkles in that area! Unless (or until) Chloe of Style Arc drafts a long sleeved cowl that fits as fabulously well as her Creative Cate I suppose that this will do.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Completed a couple of weeks ago, but not shown -- Velynda, from Chic Knits . Knit in a now (sadly) discontinued yarn from Nashua Handknits, Julia.
The photo is not very well lit, but perhaps this closeup of the stitch pattern will show a little better:
Notice also the closely matching vintage buttons!
And then there's a project that languished on the needles for many months, no idea why, as it's lovely yarn from the talented dyer Carol Sulcoski at Black Bunny Fibers. The pattern is Beret Gaufre, available as a free download from the also talented Veronik Avery. Apologies for the lack of French punctuation.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
The fleet of sewing machines takes a short break so that yarn can hit the spotlight -- there's always knit/crochet going on at Mingling Yarn, it just doesn't always make the cut as far as posts.
First up, a little cowl from Virtual Yarns -- Maud, part of a multi-piece set (cowl, gloves, tam). This was knit as a warm-up, practice piece for the main attraction -- the Oregon vest. I've had that kit in the stash for (mumble, mumble) years, and it's finally time. Or, getting closer anyway!
My two-handed, two-color knitting skills are quite rusty, so this was a nice little exercise for a bigger project. Not perfectly executed, but at least now I feel better prepared.
Next, a little crochet neck scarf/shawlette -- South Bay Shawlette from the folks at Lion Brand -- I'd link to the pattern itself, but I believe that you need to register for their freebies.
Quick, easy, but attractive pattern that is easily memorized. The yarn was given to me by Margaret, local knitting/spinning/weaving/just-about-anything-with-fiber guru, who used a good portion of it in a mystery shawl project. It's Seiku (sometimes spelled Sekku) from Noro, and is a blend of cotton/wool/nylon/silk - 420 meters in a 50 gr. skein. Typical of Noro are the exuberant colors, and the 'interesting' way it's spun -- while this is a lace weight yarn, it ranges from very loosely spun DK-sized slubs to tightly spun invisible strands. OK, maybe not quite invisible, but darn close - certainly very thread like. I like the way it turned out, it will be a fun little accessory, but I seriously doubt that I'll be using this again -- life is just too short to be holding your breath (against breakage) with every stitch. We won't even mention how Mr. Monty sat on it and broke a strand. Not to worry, he's still living, although he did not get to lick my ice cream bowl that evening.
So, the first knit/crochet project of the new year. Small, but delightful.